Campsites often become full in the summer, so it's a good idea to make a reservation early. If no spaces are available in Rocky Mountain National Park, there are some other good options available just down the road.
Yogi Bear Jellystone Park™ of Estes has over 110 campsites available with several options to accommodate your needs - No Hook Up Tent Sites, Water & Electric Sites, Premium Water & Electric Sites, and Full Hookup Sites. Prices range from $34/night Sunday through Thursday from May 8 to October 3 to $69/night on a Friday or Saturday for a Premium Full Hook Up. For more information or to reserve, call 970-658-2536 or check out their website.
There are two campsites managed by the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District: The Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake and The Estes Park Campground at East Portal. These are open from May 15th to October 15th. Reservations can be made online at www.ReserveAmerica.com or through the call center at (800) 964-7806. Rates for 2015 are $30/night for a non-water/electric campsite, $40/night for a campsite with water and electric, and $45/night for a full hook-up campsite. For more information and the guidelines for reserving you can go to the EVRPD website.
There is also the Hermit Park Open Space campgrounds located 2 miles from Estes Park and is open year-round. Reservations can be made 180 days in the future. It has 108 campsites in 5 different campgrounds: Hermit's Hollow, Bobcat, Kruger Equestrian, Granite Gulch, and Camper Cabins. Each of these can be reserved through the reservations call center at (800) 397-7795 or online at the Larimer County Camping website.
My family was looking for a nice hike we could do with our 8 and 9 year old children and our dog. Dogs are not allowed on the trails within Rocky Mountain National Park, however the Lily Mountain Trail is just outside the park in the Roosevelt National Forest. This made it an ideal hike for our family to take together. It was a very sunny day in mid-March with a lot of wind.
There aren't many parking spots at the Lily Mountain Trailhead - it can only accommodate 10 or so cars. If there isn't any parking available at the trailhead, you can drive about 400 yards up the road and park in the Lily Mountain Lake parking lot and then walk down the road to the trailhead.
The path was mostly out of the wind with a majority winding among the pine trees, leaving glimpses of Twin Sister's.
There were several parts of the path that didn't have snow, especially towards the beginning of the trail, however the further up we got the more snow there was on the ground. If you go in early spring, it's definitely helpful to have poles and good shoes.
At the top of the trail, the last few feet, you have to scramble up a bunch of boulders.
The 360° view from the top is definitely worth the hike. It took our family about 4.5 hours round-trip, with lots of stops along the way for the kids to play and catch their breath. Below are pictures taken from the top of the Twin Sisters, Estes Cone & Long's Peak, and Lake Estes.